Student designers gamify neuroscience to grow young minds
- A team from Swinburne’s student-led design studio Bureau Accelerator developed a game called ‘Find Your Feelings’ for industry client ThinkPlus
- The card game uses a new theory of constructed emotions to help primary school children develop their emotional granularity literacy
- The final product is now for sale on the Think Plus website and is designed for both home and classroom use
Pandemic restrictions didn’t stop Swinburne University of Technology students Caitlin Wagg, Charlotte Tiong, and Yeuk Nim Lo from creative innovation, producing a new game for children called ‘Find Your Feelings’.
The student team collaborated online, across continents, to develop, test and deliver a research-grounded, educational card game.
Find Your Feelings takes decades of educational research and wraps it in a highly engaging form to capture the interest of primary school learners.
Bureau Accelerator industry client ThinkPlus provided expert knowledge of educational theory, as the student team applied psychology, education and communication design knowledge to develop a game with real educational impact.
What is emotional granularity literacy?
Emotional granularity literacy is the ability to recognise and name emotions at a detailed level. It includes emotional vocabulary skills, understanding feelings, and explaining them to others.
ThinkPlus wanted to create a game that educated children in this vital area, as part of its mission to equip young people to face contemporary challenges. The organisation brought 25 years of educational research and development to the table but ThinkPlus educator and researcher Celia Franzè said they needed a design team to bring it into a tangible and engaging form.
“The team of young professional designers applied knowledge across domains of psychology, education and communication design,” Celia said.
“The Bureau was very professional and working with the team was honestly one the highlights in my working week.”
ThinkPlus is an initiative of the Elevo Institute, which publishes educational research internationally. In 2019, it commissioned Swinburne academic, Dr James Marshall to conduct new research into gamifying the ThinkPlus metacurriculum through the development of pedagogical agents. This research applied Marshall’s unique Emotion Design method to construct emotional goals in game design. Marshall’s research forms a major part of ThinkPlus’ ongoing product development strategy which includes character design, games, animations, software and print applications.
The ThinkPlus team have nicknamed the game’s Rainbow Chameleon “Jack.”
How does Find Your Feelings work?
Find Your Feelings uses captivating illustrations and a central character, the Rainbow Chameleon, to engage young learners. It encourages children to develop their emotional vocabulary skills by helping them connect feelings to prior experiences and situations.
‘Find Your Feelings’ works like a unique version of charades. The game consists of colour coded cards, each using the Rainbow Chameleon to demonstrate a granular emotion. The reversible box package forms a dice. Children have to guess the emotion being acted or described by their team members. Additional posters and charts track each team’s progress and support further discussion of the emotions being ‘found’.
“I love that the game is the perfect size and beautifully houses the designed cards, packaging and instructions. The design accounts for developmental haptics and spatial transformation of objects attainable by children. It is truly remarkable,” Celia said.
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